An Overview of African-American Golf

African-Americans have a rich history of endurance and golf is no exception to it. From a sport that was “Caucasians Only,” African-American golfers helped the sport widen its scope and evolve to involve players of different descents. It was the start of something great. Today, there is a dearth of African-American professional golfers on the turf. There is still the need for a champion who can be like Tiger, who can be better than Tiger, who is willing to challenge himself/herself and the game. For inspiration, let us highlight some of the greats in the minority golf community who changed history through their perseverance and endurance to see how the efforts of one can change the rules for many. The first African-American “member” of the all white PGA was Dewey Brown, in 1898. Dewey worked at the Madison Golf Course as a caddie and fell in love with the game. As one of the first minority members, he gave golf lessons and fashioned golf clubs for enthusiasts like Presidents (talk about skill.) He also owned and managed Ceder River House and Golf Club, New York until he kicked the bucket. Another minority golf game changer was John Shippen Junior. He was the first professional golf player to enter the U.S. Open Golf Championship in 1896. Succeeding these athletes’ glorious entry into the game of golf, many African-American golfers like Charlie Sifford, Ted Rhodes, Bill Spiller, Ann Gregory, Lee Elder, etc. not only joined the sport but also made it their own. They put their foot in the door and got in, and made a name for themselves in golf history. Many decades of perseverance and hard work has given African-American Minority Golfers the space they deserve on the greens. Fast forward to the 90s. Tiger Woods became a champion to all minority golfers and minority golf communities when he won the Masters in 1997. He beat all PGA records in his time with sheer willpower and tender love and care from his parents. This rise to fame certainly spiked the interest of many African-American amateur golfers who wanted to become pros. He is still the talk of the town! But sadly the game hasn’t seen a surge of African-American golfers on the turf. It could be because golf is an elitist game and requires years of practice if not decades just to win a tour card. Moving forward, the legacy of African-American golfers needs to rise. A step in this direction is the Minority Golf Association that has a vision to encourage and support minority communities who want to give a chance to the sport and don’t have the money or the right trainers to fulfil their dreams. Maybe through these efforts we will find a Sifford, a Brown, or a Tiger in the making and support that individual to show the world that African-Americans are great at this once “Caucasian Only” game.

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